Transatlantic flights force an ever rarer disconnect from the digital collective. Even the strongest of focusers can make use of the resultant executive function surplus; the rest of us, even more so. However, this British Airways flight has Iron Man 2 (on demand), which I haven't seen. Let's how that works as background.
I'm looking forward to returning home, seeing those important to me, making necessary changes with renewed energy, and being inspired to create, once again.
This all started nearly three weeks ago.
Despite a badly delayed SFO departure, thanks to Heathrow's amazingly efficient new Terminal 5 (and having carried-on all luggage), I made my connection to Oslo, and a swift train straight into downtown.
My colleague and fellow CSS Working Group compatriot of many years Daniel met me at the train station. We had dinner and shared our recent trials and tribulations, both professional and personal. Short relationships that were never meant to be, and longer ones, doomed from expectations of entitlements. If your loved one makes you cry, stand-up for yourself and walk away (same thing is true for a job, though you may have more recourse there). Respect starts with self-respect. If they demand ever more entitlements, or act more like a spoiled brat than a courageous partner, leave them. Let them grow-up on their own time, if they ever do.
CSS Working Group
Heads and hearts just a bit clearer, we jumped into three solid days of W3C CSS Working Group meetings. The meetings were hosted by Opera Software thanks to Håkon Wium Lie. Our work didn't stop there. Dinners and discussions carried late into the night, thanks to the shared apartment that Tab Atkins rented out for us for a week. All the minutes (day 1, 2, 3) and raw IRC logs (day 1, 2, 3) are publicly available, posted promptly on @CSSWG. A few of the accomplishments that I'm particularly happy with:
- Better W3C editor source control set-up instructions. Thanks to Elika and David Baron putting up with my bitching about CVS long enough to help walk me through getting it working, I wrote up a much more detailed W3C CVS setup, detailing every dumb idiotic problem I ran into no matter how small, and what the fix was. I give you: W3C CVS For Dummies to enable more CSS working group members and invited experts to directly edit developer drafts and advance more CSS3 more quickly. It's on the CSS Working Group wiki and thus my hope is that others will add more tips and notes where they got stuck and how they got unstuck.
- All CSS 2.1 issues resolved (again) - the working group has worked very hard over the years sweating insane levels of details. Often in response to public feedback, but more often as a result of browser vendors iteratively implementing CSS 2.1 more and more precisely, and as a result uncovering holes and ambiguities that might affect only the rarest of pages. To be clear, the latest in progress draft of CSS 2.1 is far more accurate than any previous CSS Recommendation (1 or 2).
- CSS Style Attribute editor's draft - this is a draft I helped edit many years ago, and is one of those critical pieces of documentation that connects HTML and CSS. The group has updated this draft to reflect how browsers work, and nothing more, i.e. what you can depend on. Expect a Candidate Recommendation soon.
- CSS3 Color editor's draft - having finally gotten W3C CVS working, I've begun putting the finishing touches on the CSS3 Color Module. Thanks to David Baron's previous edits, and Chris Lilley's handling of last call comments and the resultant disposition, we're pretty close on this one. Just the remaining details that only someone with OCD could enjoy cleaning up. Well, maybe mostly enjoy.
- CSS3 User Interface Editor's Draft - Having submitted a slew of technical fixes for HTML5, after minor CSS3 Color edits, this is now the key W3C draft I'm focusing on as part of my work at Mozilla. Just one problem: when the CSS working group last rechartered they left out working on UI. So for now, all work CSS3 UI will have to be in the form of a live, unofficial editor's draft that reflects the best we know of current implementations. Again, a very pragmatic draft. Once that looks reasonably solid (even as an editor's draft, I'll start drafting a CSS4 UI with next generation Web Apps UI features.
Not everything went perfectly though. On the last day of the working group meeting, the USB memory stick I'd been using for recent documents (even for my CVS checkout) went bad. I was able to recover some text file fragments, and had recent (days/weeks old) backups, so the loss wasn't too bad, but still disappointing.
Oslo Day Out
Turns out if you sleep only 3-4 hours a night for 3-4 nights in a row, you will crash and sleep right through your alarm clock. No matter, I had planned an extra day in Oslo to walk around downtown and do some shopping. I awoke to the sound of Tab Atkins knocking on the apartment door. He barely missed his flight, they rescheduled him for the next day, so he came back the apartment. Good thing I overslept - no one else was around to let him in.
We went out for coffee, a late brunch, and some shopping. After picking up a few essential items of black clothing at H&M (same prices as in the U.S.), and finding nothing good on sale at G-Star, I checked out a few shoe stores for boots.
Ladies, this is an area where you're at a significant advantage - there are way more kick-ass women's boots than men's boots. For some reason boot-makers think guys want either douchey low cut dress boots, or overweight cumbersome boots with cheesy buckles / decorations or impractical laces. Or cowboy boots, which are just not my thing.
Frustrated, I finally asked one store if they knew of any place that sold decent at least calf-height boots for men, and they pointed me to a spot a couple blocks away. We got there minutes before closing time, descended into their basement, where the only people were a couple of bored salespeople.
Even here though, Tab patiently listened to my rants about bad shoe design, all the things obviously wrong with all of their boots. About to give up and leave, I came across a pair of black calf-high boots hidden on the 2nd shelf of an intermediate (not wall) display. When I picked one up I nearly flung it into the air - it was about 1/4 to 1/3 the weight I'd expected it to be. Super-light.
Simple solid black styling, nothing fancy. Goretex water proof. Super-grippy sole. I had to try them on. A pair of European size 41s fit my feet like gloves. They felt like the best hiking boots I'd ever worn, but better fitted, black, waterproof, and light as sneakers. Incredible. Something clicked and I remembered where I'd heard the brand before: Ecco, recommended to me by Phoebe the friendly boot salesgirl I'd met a month beforehand in Portland.
A climber friend of mine had once tweeted about her tradition of buying a new pair of boots after a break-up, break-up boots as it were. Seemed like a good idea in theory, and as I walked out of the boot store wearing my new Eccos, I finally understood what she was talking about.
Dinner and Departures
We wrapped up the evening with a nice dinner at Håkon's place, took nearly the last tram home, and after a fruitless search for laundry detergent, called it a night. Packed early the next morning, David Baron, Tab, and I took the train to Oslo airport where we shared one last lunch together before we departed our separate ways. Philadelphia en route to California for them, while the agent at my gate called out: London - all rows boarding for London.